Spotlight on Nick Caputo
Meet Nick Caputo - Sole founder of Strum86, an app to help you network with people at the same event as you, using music. He shares Strum86's value proposition and tips on how to design and develop products.
You've been building products since you were a kid. What's the secret to coming up with great product ideas, and designing them?
It's about the mindset you put yourself in. But even more than putting yourself in the right social group, your mindset is most affected kinesthetically, by how you *act*.
Product ideas can come from anywhere, and be about any subject, even if you're not an expert in it. Some of the first things I built were in alternative energy and electric cars. Now, it's software architecture and ways to communicate. I only got a formal education in one of them, but never discounted the others and built every one.
a) Have a 'first' experience every day. Even if it's small, like trying a bar you have never had before, or getting a new food item at the place you frequent, make it a point to have one 'first'. This one really isn't a chore, it expands your mindset, and you develop a habit of being more observant because of it.
b) Using a notebook or Google Keep on your phone, jot down thoughts as they come up. Write about your daily process.
c) Keep executing on some task to expand your skill set. If you get yourself in the mindset of always being in motion, you are, in fact, nurturing your habit of developing new thoughts.
d) Get feedback on everything you build, and advice from loved ones on every decision you have to make. That keeps the development of what you're building going smoothly.
Tell us about Strum86. How did you build it?
Strum86 is an app on Android and iOS that networks you with artists in your vicinity, or those at the same event, using music. It shows you a short list (about 8) of the people in the room that you would most easily talk (or work) with, kind of acting like goggles that will tell you who those people are specifically. It's a way for you to know who you'd easily speak with, before talking to them.
I had started building the Android app in college in October 2015 as a way to break the ice to people on a small campus where I really didn't know anybody. I actively started developing it in May 2016, and its first version was finished about December of that year.
How does Strum86 help musicians?
Strum86 has musicians using it to network with people who would be responsive to their content, but may not be fans just yet. They can also broadcast secret events and fill seats at a concert or speaking engagement.
You won't see everyone on the app, but only the 5% of people that are like you. Anybody you see on it, you instantly get a one-on-one with them.
As an aside:
If you happen to be a sole founder at the outset of your project, it's a very different game than having a co-founder. Advice is gold. Instead of passing your thoughts through someone and receiving theirs in return, use your close network to create a kind of think tank and opinions board for what you're doing. You have to predict what's going to happen with your energy level, time availability and expectations from colleagues. Expand your team quickly, and responsibly delegate to those you're working with. This is hugely important, and can give you the same resources as a co-founding team.